Leonardo DiCaprio Just Received a Huge Honor From the Scientific Community After an Incredible Discovery in Cameroon

Leonardo DiCaprio might be best-known to fans around the world as an award-winning actor – but to the scientific community, he’s a force to be reckoned with. DiCaprio, who has received acclaim for his ability to throw himself completely into a role, has dedicated a great deal of his time and energy to causes that he believes in. As one of the most active celebrities in the climate change movement, DiCaprio regularly takes to social media to entreat fans to protect the environment. Recently, DiCaprio was honored for his work by a group of scientists who named an endangered plant after the beloved actor. 

Leonardo DiCaprio has been instrumental in protecting the Ebo Forest in Cameroon

DiCaprio has long been invested in helping to save the tropical Ebo Forest, located in Cameroon. The forest, which is home to a variety of critically endangered species such as forest elephants and western gorillas, was in danger of being used for logging in 2020, according to Smithsonian Magazine. After the logging initiative was announced, scientists and researchers panicked, calling upon anyone who was in a position of power to help.

Fortunately, DiCaprio sprang into action, taking to social media to post a petition against the logging. The petition DiCaprio shared to Twitter received an incredible wave of support, and three weeks after the initial announcement, the government of Cameroon stated that the logging initiative would be suspended. There’s no doubt that DiCaprio’s social media influence helped to save the tropical forest from deforestation and damage. 

What honor did Leonardo DiCaprio just receive from scientists?

Leonardo DiCaprio speaks onstage during the 26th-annual Screen Actors Guild Awards
Leonardo DiCaprio | Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images for Turner

In early 2022, the scientific community found a way to thank DiCaprio for his work in saving the Ebo Forest. Botanists named the first plant species described by science this year after DiCaprio, dubbing an evergreen tree that grows in the Ebo Forest with the name Uvariopsis dicaprio. According to a recently-published PeerJ article, the plant reaches about 13 feet in height and has glossy, yellow-green leaves that grow in bunches around the trunk. 

Smithsonian Magazine notes that the plant is a “spectacular species” that is considered to be critically endangered. Martin Cheek, one of the researchers on the project, said “We very much appreciated the support Leo gave us in campaigning to protect Ebo last year so it seemed fitting to honor him in this way, naming a species unique only to this forest, after him.” Cheek also said that now that scientists know that the plant species exists, they can work even harder to protect it.

Leonardo DiCaprio is a dedicated environmental activist

DiCaprio has used his celebrity influence for years to advocate for protecting the environment. Not only is DiCaprio a board member of the International Fund for Animal Welfare, but in 1998, he established the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, which has “the mission of protecting the Earth’s last wild places and implementing solutions to build a more harmonious relationship between humanity and the natural world.”

A few of DiCaprio’s particular passion projects include protecting and promoting biodiversity, working on behalf of ocean and forest conservation, and raising awareness of climate change. Not only does DiCaprio work directly with environmental organizations around the world, but he also uses his own social media accounts to post about causes that he believes in— such as in the case of the Ebo Forest. Certainly, fans haven’t heard the last of DiCaprio’s work on behalf of the environment, and the honor granted to him by the scientific community likely won’t be the last that the actor receives.

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